With just a few weeks to go until schools across the borough start opening their doors to welcome lots of excited and nervous new school starters, it’s a good idea to start preparing them for this next chapter. This week, we’ve launched our #schoolready campaign which will share lots of hints and tips to support you and your child take this next big step.
Starting school can be a very exciting time for some children, but it can also be an equally daunting time for others. Starting school is a huge step and it’s a good idea to prepare your child emotionally and socially and to equip them with some basic skills. This will help your child feel more confident, reassured and happy as they begin their journey into the world of school.
Take a look at some of our #schoolready top tips below:
1. Support your child in carrying out simple tasks for themselves.
Think about the practical skills they’ll need and practise them, such as:
- Using a knife and folk
- Putting on and fastening their own shoes and coat
- Getting undressed and dressed for PE
- Going to the toilet independently
2. Encourage your child to be more independent.
Take a step back and encourage them to do little jobs that you might usually do for them automatically, such as:
- Carrying their own bag
- Tidying up their bedroom and toys
- Putting their dirty clothes in the wash basket
- Hanging up their coat and putting shoes away
3. Help your child get ready to learn.
Your child is not expected to start school able to read and write – there’s plenty of time for that. But it can be helpful to get them ready to learn. Recognising and writing their name is a great place to start - this will also help them find their peg and their labelled clothing. You could also practise writing their age and look out for different numbers when out and about.
4. Good listening and social skills.
Talking and listening skills will come with practice but it’s a good idea to practice some basic social skills, such as:
- Taking it in turns to talk and not talking over people
- Greeting their teacher with ‘good morning’ and a smile
- Listening to their teacher and following instructions
- Good sharing and manners
5. Preparing your child emotionally
Starting school might make your child feel worried or anxious for a whole range of reasons. The single best thing to do is talk. Talk about school as much as possible – what it will be like, the fun things they will do, the new friends they’ll make. Talk about the things worrying them, then reassure them to dispel their fears.
It’s not just new starters who may be feeling worried or anxious about starting school, older children may also feel anxious – especially following the significant disruptions over the last 18 months to their school lives, education and social lives. So, we’ll also be sharing some tips to support children returning to school - such as meeting up with friends, talking about their anxieties and getting back into a routine.
Cllr Trevor Cave, Cabinet Spokesperson for Children’s Services, said: “Starting school for the first time can feel like a huge step for children and parents and often brings excitement and nerves in equal measures.
"Before you know it, they’ll be settled into school life enjoying wonderful learning experiences but it’s always a good idea to prepare them to help them feel more confident and comfortable when they start. Our #schoolready campaign shares lots of ideas about how to prepare your child physically, emotionally and socially which will go a long way in helping your child develop, grow and thrive. I’d like to wish all the excited, eager school starters lots of luck and happiness as they start their exciting school journey.”
We know that the pandemic has had a considerable impact on our young people - including their time in school and their learning. We’ve also seen how resilient and dedicated young people have been through this difficult time. So, as school life becomes more normal, it’s more important than ever to remember that every school day matters and it’s crucial that children attend school daily and punctually. Our children deserve the opportunity to achieve their potential and now’s their chance.